Amos Gitai is an Israeli director known for his controversial films focusing on the conflicts of his country from a mostly liberal perspective. Gitai was an architecture student in both Haifa and California, but his education was interrupted in 1973 when he was called back to serve in the army during the Yom Kippur war. After a near-death experience on a rescue mission, he was impelled to undertake filmmaking. He started his career in France, producing a number of short films and documentaries. One of these, "Field Diary," about the struggles of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, was banned in Israel. During this time Gitai also turned out two celebrated features, "Golem" and "Berlin-Yerushalaim." He returned to Haifa, but his films remained controversial. "Kadosh," which examines the role of religion in Israeli society, was lambasted at home but won recognition for Gitai and Israeli cinema outside of the country. His next film, "Kippur," a largely autobiographical piece about his experience in the Yom Kippur war, was less contentious, even bringing praise from some Israeli film critics for its unexaggerated approach, and a Best Director nomination from the Awards of the Israeli Film Academy. His films have been nominated for Golden Palm awards at the Cannes Film Festival on four occasions, most recently in 2005 for "Free Zone."